Okay guys - seeing as everyone is signing off for the holidays, I'm going to join in with the festive greetings and let you know that I am going to also be taking a Christmas break!
I get abnormally soppy at this time of year, so bear with me! :p
I haven't yet been blogging for a full year, and yet somehow, I have managed to make friends with some of the coolest, most talented people in the world. Whether it's the unwavering support from Ninja Captain Alex, or Cassie Mae and Annalisa Crawford making me laugh, or Morgan Shamy's sweet, encouraging comments, or Clare Dugmore's constant belief that I can do anything I set my mind to - every single person who has stopped by here and left a kind word has made 2012 amazing..
I wasn't sure where my writing journey would go when I started - and I certainly didn't expect to publish 3 books this year! If you are one of the awesome people who has bought any of them, or even just been there to help spread the word - you rock!
I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and an awesome New Year!
And now I present you with the last part of Game On Christmas. This will be the last spoiler warning too! :D
Game On Christmas Part 1
Game On Christmas Part 2
Game On Christmas Part 3
Game On Christmas Part 4
Game On Christmas Part 1
Game On Christmas Part 2
Game On Christmas Part 3
Game On Christmas Part 4
I told Bree and Leah there was no chance in hell I’d be singing karaoke with them. I preferred to watch and laugh at everyone else, rather than being laughed at. But they wouldn’t listen to my protests. The dragged me to the edge of the dance floor and thrust a microphone in my hand for our joint rendition of I Touch Myself.
Not my choice of song.
I barely managed to sing a note anyway, because my girls were gyrating against each other, and I couldn’t stop laughing for long enough to actually join in with the lyrics. Bree was totally blitzed. She’d quickly developed a taste for Margaritas, and because it was her birthday, she’d had free drinks all night. Leah hadn’t quite reached Bree’s stage of drunkness, but she never really needed much alcohol to get crazy anyway. For her, it was all about the atmosphere.
We received rapturous applause when the song ended, and the three of us stumbled back to the centre of the dance floor, still giggling, as the men nearby wolf whistled and cheered.
“Leah, honey, I never knew you felt that way about me,” Bree said, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks. They still had their arms slung around each other’s shoulders.
“Hey, you were the one doing all the grinding!” Leah said. “I think maybe I should feel violated!”
“You loved it!”
It felt so good to have our little group back together again. We hadn’t engaged in so much silliness since we were in London, and even then, we weren’t this hyped. Even though Bree and I always had fun when we went out, it was never the same without Leah. She was the one who really brought us together. I’d always liked Bree, but it was Leah’s friendship with her that made us closer.
I hugged them both, and Bree giggled. “Leah,” she whispered, “I think Freya wants a threesome!”
Leah and I exchanged a look of amusement as Bree’s legs began to disappear beneath her while she continued to chuckle. If we hadn’t been holding her up, she would have disintegrated into a drunken puddle on the floor.
“Did you get this smashed on your twenty-first?” Leah asked me, her knees buckling slightly as Bree stumbled.
“Erm, yes,” I admitted. “Actually, I was so drunk, I passed out and missed the end of my own party.”
“Yup. My mom was pissed she spent so much money on my birthday celebrations, only for me to have no memory of it at all, but … you live, you learn!”
“So she won’t be throwing you a thirtieth birthday party, then?”
Before I could say anything else, Will, Jude and Radleigh approached us.
“You look like you need a hand,” Jude said, smiling.
Although Bree weighed next to nothing, she was completely relying on us to keep her standing, and it was difficult to hold her up because she was still in the middle of a giggle fit. Jude carefully unwound her from around our shoulders, then lifted her off her feet.
“I’ll take it from here,” he told us, laughing at the mess his wife had turned into.
“Just when I think you can’t get any hotter, you prove me wrong,” Radleigh said, snaking his arms around my waist and pulling me into him as the music changed from karaoke tunes to end of the night love songs.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I told him, fluttering my eyelids.
“Oh, you know exactly what I mean,” he said, his eyes filling with a look I recognised only too well. Heat surged through my veins as his fingers slid down to my hips.
How long before I stop wanting to jump his bones every time he looks at me?
I never tired of seeing his ice blue eyes glimmer with lust, or feeling his hands on me. Sometimes, it was downright frustrating to be out in public with him when all we really wanted to do was go home and find new ways to make each other moan.
“It was just a song,” I told him, smiling.
“Right. Just a song. With a bit of girl on girl action to keep things interesting.”
I tilted my head coyly and wrapped my arms around him, causing him to let out a groan.
“Is it time to leave yet?”
“No!” I laughed. “First, I want to dance with you. You know, our first official dance as a couple.”
Radleigh grinned. “You mean, one where you’re not pretending you hate me?”
My mind flicked back several months, to Alison and Michael’s wedding. It seemed like forever ago. That night he’d shown up in Boston and invited himself out with me and my friends I genuinely thought I might kill him.
“I did hate you,” I said. “At first.”
“But then I won you over with my charm.”
“Ha! No, then I got pissed on vodka and you took advantage of me!”
He raised an eyebrow, making me laugh again. “I might have let you take advantage of me,” I admitted.
Radleigh’s face turned serious. “I was honest with you that night,” he said, tightening his arms around me. “More honest than I’d been with anyone for a long time.”
I nodded. “I know. I still don’t know why, but I like to think it was about more than trying to get me into bed.”
“It was. Mostly.”
I rolled my eyes, and he said, “I need to ask you something, since we’re being honest and all.”
I didn’t even need to look at him to know what he was going to say. It had been unspoken since he came to England, but it lurked in the background, waiting for me to make some kind of decision.
“Leah, when we got together, you said you needed some time to think about us … and where you want to be. But, it won’t be long until I have to come back here permanently for training before the new season starts and I want you with me. I don’t want to leave you behind and deal with all that long distance crap. So … I guess I’m asking you to move in with me.”
Everything about Radleigh screamed alpha male, but when he quit trying to tell me what to do and actually asked me, it was hard to say no.
Plus, being without him was no longer an option. When he’d spent a few days in London with Jesse, I felt like a part of myself was missing. Undeniably lame, but true. Even with my niece and nephew to keep me busy, I still missed him.
“You think you can make room in McCoy Manor for me?” I teased.
“Stop calling my house that,” he laughed. “Or I’ll make you sleep on the sofa.”
Rising onto my tiptoes, I brushed my lips against his. “Yes,” I told him. “I would love to move in with you.”
The smile he gave me made my head spin, and when he kissed me, everything else in the room began to disappear.
It was one of those moments. When his lips hungrily crushed against mine, his tongue dipped into my mouth, and I thought, I can’t believe he’s mine.
There was something so surreal about being with Radleigh sometimes. The small town girl from England in a relationship with a soccer superstar. How did I get so lucky? Of course, it wasn’t all luck. And it wasn’t always perfect.
But he was everything I wanted.
“I love you,” I told him, pressing myself as close to him as it was physically possible to be.
Smiling again, he said, “I love you too.”
Falling backwards onto my bed, I couldn’t stop giggling. I was right. It was the best night ever. New shoes, awesome friends, including my new best friend, Margarita, and lots of dancing and laughing.
“Are you okay,” Jude asked, a slight smile on his lips as he stood over me. At least, I think he was smiling. It was hard to tell, he had three heads.
“I am great!” I said, emphatically. “I had the best time tonight, and it’s all because of you!”
Jude sat down beside me, taking my hand in his. “You are going to have the worst hangover in the morning.” He laughed.
“Urgh, I know. You took photos, right? Because I don’t know if I’ll remember any of this tomorrow.”
“There are lots of photos, don’t worry.”
Blinking a few times to get rid of Jude’s extra heads, I grinned at him. Even without the new shoes, the big party, and all the effort he went to to make it just how I would have chosen, I was pretty sure my 21st would have been amazing, just because of him.
Jude took care of me. Always. Right from the start. Even on the day I met him, he took care of me. I never really needed someone to do everything for me, I grew up having to do things for myself, but I was always afraid. Made stupid choices, mainly because I trusted the wrong people. I didn’t know if I should trust Jude, but he waited for me. He proved he wasn’t some rich douchebag trying to take advantage of me. It was all very Cinderella.
And I became the Princess.
I wasn’t sure I deserved it, and I definitely wasn’t sure I needed everything I had. When you grow up with very little, you realise how little you really need.
Jude was everything.
My eyelids fluttered, tiredness taking over every part of me. The last thing I saw was my husband’s smile, and I drifted into sleep with a smile on my face.
I’d worry about the hangover in the morning.